Miles to go to see The Original Rhinestone Cowboy…

Believe it or not, there is a Wikipedia entry for one of the most colorful characters of my hometown of McComb – The Original Rhinestone Cowboy. It doesn’t do him justice, though, as it can’t describe the curious little man dancing with his tape deck and guitar downtown. He hung out mostly by Vest’s Shoes and I don’t remember ever being scared of him, even though he was covered from head to toe with rhinestones — even gluing them on his dentures! As a young adult, my friend Kim and I went to his house where every inch of the floors, walls and ceiling were covered in glitter and shiny things. We bought pieces of his artwork, which were just pieces of poster board covered with glitter, for nearly nothing. Looking back, I don’t remember anyone making fun of him or even questioning the odd costumes he wore. He was just “Rhinestone,” as we called him, doing his thing downtown in grand style!

From Wikipedia: Loy Allen Bowlin (1909–1995), also known as The Original Rhinestone Cowboy, was an outsider artist from McComb, Mississippi. His artwork largely included bejeweling his clothing, Cadillac, home and even his dentures with thousands of rhinestones. Bowlin’s life and work have been acclaimed by various outsider art critics and periodicals including Raw Vision.

After his death, Bowlin’s Mississippi home, the Beautiful Holy Jewel Home of the Original Rhinestone Cowboy, was acquired by the Kohler Foundation, Inc. and was moved to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where it is on permanent display.

Link to John Kohler Arts Center:

http://www.jmkac.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=70&Itemid=107

Another great article showing the inside of Rhinestone’s home:

http://www.rawvision.com/articles/39/rhinestone/rhinestone.html

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About ckeirn

This is an account of my life’s journey – road trips, places in my heart, people and things I love.
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3 Responses to Miles to go to see The Original Rhinestone Cowboy…

  1. Robbi Cox says:

    Before Rhinestone’s tape deck, he played harmonica and danced on the street corners of McComb. I loved seeing him driving around town in his “caddie” with those big fins and the steer “long” horns strapped to the front. They were the width of the hood!
    He was always smiling and ready and willing to talk about his legacy of being “The Original Rhinestone Cowboy”.

    Like

  2. ckeirn says:

    Thanks Robbi! Wish we could sit down and talk to him today, don’t you?

    Like

  3. Jeff Bowlin says:

    Rhinestone was my great uncle I remember him coming over and eating sunday dinner with us at my grand paw bowlin’s which was his younger bother “Awsome” I’am also into to folk art , just trolling around for some inspiration for what I do.

    Like

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